Forth Ports is a freehold port owner and operator of seven ports around the Firth of Forth – the main seaborne highway for the east coast of Scotland. Forth Ports also has conservancy rights over the Firths of Forth and Tay. In addition, Forth Ports owns the port of Tilbury; the closest port to the city of London. Tilbury's strategic location on the River Thames makes it the natural point for distribution for developments such as the 2012 Olympics and the Thames Gateway.
The UK is unusual in having privatised both port operations, freehold land ownership and statutory harbour authority rights. With 95% of the UK’s international trade (by volume) being transported to/from the UK by sea, ports are essential and established infrastructure. In addition, the considerable geographic, cost, regulatory and environmental barriers to the development of new ports in the UK make the asset class very attractive for infrastructure investors. These factors combine to provide Forth Ports with very stable cashflows, with conservancy and port rentals representing over 50% of Forth Ports’ cashflow contribution. In addition, Forth Ports has a highly diverse product and customer base and a predominance of customers with operations embedded within the port on long-term contracts.
Forth Ports’ significant land banks and strategic locations at Tilbury and its Scottish ports provide flexibility for existing customers as well as providing real opportunities to develop new business and attract new customers. Arcus is supporting the Forth Ports management team in seeking new customers to expand the business, particularly the current development of renewable energy opportunities in Scotland and the port centric development of the London Distribution Park in Tilbury. In January 2012, Arcus supported Forth Ports’ acquisition of Tilbury Container Services Limited thereby facilitating the integration of the short sea and deep sea businesses at Tilbury. In January 2012, Arcus also assisted Forth Ports with the sale of its non-core property asset, Ocean Terminal shopping centre.
Arcus understands that ports must be actively managed to meet customer needs and unlock value. As a result, Arcus has been resolute in its determination to support management in driving value from operational improvements within the business and in capturing additional upside potential from new opportunities. The management team at Forth Ports have done an excellent job of maintaining core business and controlling costs during the current recession. They have also taken a pro-active approach to securing new business (e.g. the LOCOG business for the 2012 Olympics) as well developing the opportunities in Scotland for renewable energy initiatives.
Stuart Gray is the Asset Manager responsible for Forth Ports.
Last Updated June 2016.